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Poster: tacks Date: Oct 2, 2006 8:06pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: so who listens to nothin' but dead

Quite an interesting question, considering the Dead themselves covered more different kinds of historical music than probably any other band. I mean really, who the hell plays Viola Lee Blues AND El Paso? Jerry said it himself in an early interview that the band just soaked up whatever they could get their ears on.

So maybe people listen to the Dead exclusively simply because they can get away with it. You get a little country, a little blues (well maybe a lot), quite a bit of jazz, and some kick ass rock and roll too. The great artists can reach out beyond themselves and make other genres their own, not unlike Paul Simon did on Graceland, or like Miles Davis did when he brilliantly covered Cindy Lauper's "Time After Time". The Dead did this in spades.

Personally I go in and out of phases with this band. The LMA has given me the opportunity to listen to so much I'd never been exposed to, and my first Dead show was in '77. I happen to really like many of the newer "jam bands", which in my view is really just today's name for rock and roll/rhythm and blues (where else is the rock?). I'm also quite a bluegrass/newgrass fan - check out Alison Krause and Union Station if you haven't yet. But the fact remains that you can hit quite a lot of genres by listening to just this one band.

This post was modified by tacks on 2006-10-03 03:06:43

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Poster: Dhamma1 Date: Oct 4, 2006 6:17pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: so who listens to nothin' but dead

I listen almost exclusively to the Dead.

I've been listening to them since 1970 (but only the albums they released; was never a collector of tapes), and also during the intervening decades to lots of the popular music that appeared. About a year ago I discovered this site and began listening to them seriously, systematically, comprehensively, as well as reading the primary and secondary sources, interviews, etc. After a couple months, I found that nearly all other music simply sounded like shallow, corporate-packaged entertainment.

I had a similar experience at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland this spring. It was all just show biz glitz except the one case on SF in the 60s. I wasn't there at the time, but I was close enough to it to experience the intense feeling that we *could* change the world, could change history: that it was possible to transcend conventional reality and become oour true compassionate and joyful selves in the world. Looking at the manuscripts and clothes and artifacts, I had to hold back the tears. And after that, the rest of the museum was just superficial entertainment-industry leftovers.

To listen to the Dead systematically is to listen to much of American music: from the blues (Pig) to bluegrass (Jerry), avant-garde classical (Phil) to hardcore rock and roll, country to jazz -- it's all there. And under most of it is the transcendental wisdom of Hunter, whose songs still reveal secrets to me after listening to them for more than 30 years. Ripple is an American Taoist classic, that will be taught alongside Emily Dickinson in college classrooms 100 years from now (along with, maybe, Eyes, Let It Grow, and several others).

So, I simply don't have much time for other music right now; it sounds trivial, in comparison to the Dead's body of work. As long as the world has these three decades of music by the Dead floating around in it, there may yet be hope for civilization.

:-)

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Oct 4, 2006 8:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: so who listens to nothin' but dead

You must have had a very limited visit to the R&R HOF. Open your eyes (and ears) and you might find there is lot more there to discover vis-a-vis artists such as Patti Smith, the Velvet Undergound, Talking Heads, Ramones, The Clash, Parliament/Funkadelic. Then again, you aint' gonna learn what you don't want to know . . .

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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Oct 4, 2006 9:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: so who listens to nothin' but dead

I gotta go with bluedevil on this. If all you (dhamma) listen to is the Dead (or even the Dead and Dead-related), you are truly missing out, and you may as well go off and live in a vacuum, for all the experience it will provide. However, it's your choice and all that, whatever. But when i read a post like yours, i just got to comment. And it's not giving my two cents, it's more of a truism based on my own experiences, rather than just an opinion. To say that only the Dead and the Dead's music provide musical sustenance, is no different than someone else saying only top40 is where it's at, or only classical, or only jazz, or blues and you get the picture (i think).

And as for colleges/universities teaching 'Ripple' alongside Dickinson, well, i have to disagree with you there as well. I responded to an earlier post of yours, and no harm in cutting and pasting what i said then, since this is after all my post. Ahem ...

Dhamma, good post. However, i must respectfully disagree. As much as i appreciate the Dead's music and their lyrical and musical genius, their lyrics are just that ... lyrics. In other words, it is not, in my opinion, poetry. Poetry and lyrics subscribe to very different bodies of influence, and dare i say it, rules. It was always very amusing to me when younger when peers of mine would acclaim Jim Morrison's lyrics as somehow equal to established poetical works. However, as much as i may have felt moved by Morrison's compositions, they enlightened in a very different manner than say a work of poetry, by Rilke, Lawrence, Roethke, Pound, etc. By saying this i am not in any way diminishing the worth of the Garcia/Hunter songs, but just pointing out that lyrics are one thing, and poetry another. If you want to talk social impact, well, that's another story altogether.

Not trying to start anything, but the sort of narrow view that you propound is exactly what killed off the more worthy values and ideals of the 1960's. And which are still doing it today in 2006.

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Poster: Dhamma1 Date: Oct 5, 2006 2:56am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: so who listens to nothin' but dead

Not trying to propound or convert, or suggest anyone else should do what I do. Only trying to answer the original question that was posed, and describe my own subjective experience. No offense meant or taken :-) I appreciate the suggestions of other music that means a lot to people here.

I also don't mean to suggest I've never listened to other music or won't again. I did enjoy many of the bands named in a previous reply, over the years; and I listened to much of the (western) music written over the last 300 years before I ever heard the Dead. It's just that none of that moves me very deeply now, for whatever reason, and the Dead are a very rich vein to mine.

Nor do I mean to say I won't ever listen to anything else, My son writes and plays what he alternatively calls "death metal" and "grind metal" -- intricate, precise, furious but to me almost unlistenable short pieces. I'm sure I'll hear a lot of it in coming years. And of course one can't live in America and miss mainstream music, Disney sound tracks, etc. :-)

Lyrics aren't poetry, indeed (in which I'm reasonably well-versed, to make a bad pun), but they can sometimes succeed as effectively in communicating the unsayable and beautiful. I think Hunter's words do reach that peak as often as my favorite poets, and his words and images get stuck echoing in my head as frequently as the tunes.

Will they really be taught at universities in 100 years? I suppose that was just a bit of self-indulgent hyperbole I dropped in at a weak moment. :-)

An analogy I've been trying out, to understand my strange fascination with the Dead in recent months, is literary. You can read a book or two by an author and be moved -- say To the Lighthouse or A Room of One's Own -- and then go on to read other books by other authors. But if you are deeply touched, you might go on to read the author's entire collected works, and then maybe their letters or journals, and interviews with him or her. The deeper one goes, the more fascinating it can get and the more insights into art (and maybe oneself) you can encounter. This is how I see my current fascination with the Dead, and this wonderful community makes it possible by sharing their collections of music here. Obsessive? Maybe. Enriching? Certainly. Fun? Beyond doubt.

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Oct 5, 2006 10:59am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: so who listens to nothin' but dead

Not to stir the pot, but it is interesting that Hunter is known for some of the better translation of Rilke's work. In any event, who can deny that Ripple is a great, great song that for me, at least, sums up the "message" I took from the GD (and I love how Jane's Addiction's cover On Deadicated goes into The Other One).
http://www.dead.net/RobertHunterArchive/files/Poetry/Elegies/Duino_Elegies.html

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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Oct 5, 2006 7:18pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: so who listens to nothin' but dead

Dhamma: yes, definitely well-explained and i think i can appreciate and understand your viewpoint better this time around. In fact, for one who has thought so deeply into the thing, well, that says much in support of your position on the topic.

And i definitely agree that both lyrics and poetry can move a person emotionally, to the same degree. And perhaps, lyrics, when combined with music, to an even greater degree given the additional and greater use of one's senses. So, i wonder (posit perhaps) if one could achieve the same sort of emotional and intellectual response just reading the lyrics off the page, and never having experienced those lyrics to its musical accompaniment, than what one reacts to when absorbed in the full composition as is intended. It's a thought anyway.

And i would most definitely concur that Hunter is a brilliant lyricist. But back in the day when i was more into Hunter than i am today, i often wondered if his translations of Rilke compared favorably to those that were among the so-called accepted translations studied by the academic world. Not a speaker of German, i couldn't of course answer my own question, and actually didn't take it much further than a conversation i had with a Russian friend of mine with a PhD in 20th century poetry, and who was quite intimate most with two poets: Rilke & Neruda. Very different poets, but nonetheless, those were her poetry hobby-horses so to speak. She had never heard of the Hunter translation of Duino Elegies (which she reads in English, Russian, German, and French), but it's just her experience and not an final answer to whether Hunter's translation compares favorably. In fact, i would be interested if anyone has any info. on how Hunter's Elegies sits with established academia.

Now, about my opinion of 'established academia' ... i fully acknowlege that it does not always speak for what is 'best,' or most profound, or 'cutting-edge' or 'revolutionary', but it is a bellwether of sorts. So, maybe in a hundred years, college students will be reading Hunter's Rilke translations. I certainly hope so. One last thing about 'established academia' -- they don't always get it right. I mean look at how long it took them to pick up on the writings of Charles Bukowski, one of the best writers of his generation, and completely misunderstood for years by the publishers, the print media, and by academia and the whole stuck-up New York crowd. And feminists as well, who in fact still misunderstand and misrepresent him. Read 'Post Office' or 'Ham On Rye' or 'Factotum' and be blown away by that man's brillance, and economical and precise writing style.

Okay, i've rambled enough.

Cheers.

This post was modified by Arbuthnot on 2006-10-06 02:18:10

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Poster: buckdancer1856 Date: Oct 4, 2006 7:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: so who listens to nothin' but dead

I must admit that these days I don't listen to anything apart from the Dead.
I try listening to other guitar based stuff but no other guitarist apart from maybe Hendrix is as interesting as Jerry.
I know it's sad and I'm sorry, but that's how it is....

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Oct 4, 2006 7:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: so who listens to nothin' but dead

you apparently have never listened to Kimock - very adventurous and by far technically superior (and this is coming from massive jerry fan) - if you cant be moved by some of Kimock's music - i feel bad, you are missing out